Type: Roman Fort
Fosse Way: NE (5) to LINDINIS (Ilchester, Somerset)|
Fosse Way: WSW (23) to MVRIDVNVM (Hembury, nr. Honiton, Devon)
The entire summit of Ham Hill is enclosed by the defences of a 200-acre (c.81 ha) Iron-Age hillfort, among the largest in Britain, which was probably re-used by the Roman army to site a permanent fortification within the territories of the Durotriges tribe. The site has yielded a number of finely-crafted pieces of Roman military equipment mostly identified as legionary in origin, also pieces of a scale-mail cuirass with possible auxiliary connotations. The quantity of and quaility of the finds coupled with the sites dominance over a large part of the surrounding countryside makes it very likely that a Roman fort once existed here, with parallels perhaps at Hod Hill in Dorset and Brandon Camp in Worcestershire. There are no inscriptions on stone recorded in the R.I.B. for the Ham Hill fort, although a Roman milestone or honorific pillar has been uncovered beside the Fosse Way just to the west (vide infra).
Even though there are no physical remains in the form of typical V-shaped defensive ditches or rectangular groups of post-holes or foundation trenches of an identifiable Roman building to prove the presence of a fort, their absence is easily explained when you consider that any fort here would have been occupied for only a short space of time during the initial Claudian campaigns before the scene of action was removed to Wales and Northern Britain, and once the decision to abandon the fort had been made, its defences were probably levelled by the Romans prior to departure to prevent its possible re-use by any local dissident forces left to their rear.
|IMP FL VAL SEVERO PI FEL NOB CAES|
|"Imperator Flavius Valerius Severus Pius Felix,¹ noble Caesar."|
(RIB 2229; milestone; dated: AD305/306)